Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sikh Congressional caucus formed in US

A new bipartisan American Sikh Congressional Caucus has been formed to educate US lawmakers and the general public about Sikh issues and support the American Sikh community that has often faced discrimination post 9/11.   Co-chaired by Democrat Judy Chu and Republican David Valadao, both House members from California, the caucus was joined by 28 members of Congress from both parties.

"More than a decade after 9/11, too many Sikhs across America face discrimination, bullying, and even bias-motivated violence from misguided individuals associating them with the terrorist attacks," said Chu announcing the formation of the caucus Tuesday.
"This caucus will be the voice for American Sikhs in the House of Representatives, working across the aisle to address the unique challenges that this community faces," she said.
Thanking members of Congress lending their voices to this cause, Chu said: "Together, we will preserve religious freedom, protect the safety of all people, and celebrate America's diversity."

with thanks : Hindustan Times : LINK : for detailed news.

£4m Sikh temple dream is reality

SCOTLAND'S biggest Sikh temple has been unveiled in Glasgow after a community raised £4million to build it.

�4m Sikh temple dream is real

The Gurdwara, in the South Side's Albert Drive, is the result of months of hard work and years of planning.
The city's Sikh community is now rallying round to get it ready for a grand opening on Sunday, when the congre- gation will take part in a procession from the former site in nearby Nithsdale Road to the new building.

Situated next to the Tramway Theatre, the new temple's cost has been met by fundraising from within the Sikh community and donations from other faiths.
Gurdwara president Surinder Singh, 51, said: "The Gurdwara was a dream of ours and to see it now, almost complete, it is beyond my expectations.
"I have to commend all those involved in making it a reality."
The temple will be complete on Sunday with delivery of the Sikh holy scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib.
Five elders, known as Panj Piare, or "beloved ones," will lead a colourful procession which will transport the texts to the new temple.
Mr Singh, from Barrhead, Renfrewshire added: "At the moment this is just a building but the arrival of the holy scriptures and the congregation is what will make it a very special Gurdwara."

with thanks : eveningtimes : LINK : for detailed news.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A blow to Sikh's fight for restoring their turban pride

AMRITSAR: In a blow to Sikh's fight for their turban pride, the Quebec Soccer Federation (QSF) has refused to adopt a direction from the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) to allow Sikh players to wear turbans. While expressing disappointment over the decision of QSF World Sikh Organization (WSO) President Prem Singh Vinning told TOI on Thursday, "We fail to see what is so complicated about allowing Sikh children to play with their peers. What purpose does the QSF restriction on the turban serve? There is no conceivable justification for this. If there are genuine concerns, we are open to dialogue but if this situation is not quickly resolved, the real victims will be the children."

Late last week, in light of the decision of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to allow headscarves for players, the CSA had confirmed that referees may, until further notice, extend this ruling to the wearing of turbans,patkas , keski. Vinning said that the Quebec Federation however had stated that it will not accommodate the turban and will send the issue to its provincial referees' committee, which will make a recommendation to the federation's executive committee in the coming months.

A spokesperson of WSO Balpreet Singh said that as soccer registration has already begun for the summer season, the QSF's delay in implementing the turban accommodation will mean Sikh children will be excluded for a second consecutive season adding that no other soccer association in Canada restricts the turban.WSO Vice-President (Quebec and Atlantic Region) Mukhbir Singh said, "the CSA, of which the QSF is a member, has clarified that the turban can be worn . The QSF decision to continue to exclude the turban means Sikh children in Quebec will miss another season of soccer with their peers. "I cannot see any logic in the QSF's agreeing to allow headscarves for girls but refusing to allow turbans for boys " said he.

with thanks : Times of India : Link

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hemkunt Sahib .....

Sikh players wearing turban to be accommodated on the soccer pitch in Canada

AMRITSAR: Sikh players wearing turban would now be accommodated on the soccer pitch after Canadian Soccer Association (CSA) directed to soccer associations and referees across the country that Sikh players who wear the turban can be accommodated on the soccer pitch. 

While hailing the decision World Sikh Organization (WSO) President Prem Singh Vinning told TOI on Tuesday, "The accommodation of the turban already takes place not just across Canada but across the world. There is no reason why the turban can't be accommodated. We're glad the CSA has clarified the issue for referees and has hopefully resolved this matter for good." 

He said that CSA general secretary Peter Montopoli, had advised the WSO that in light of the decision of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to allow headscarves for players, and in response to inquiries by referees, the CSA Board of Directors has confirmed that "referees may, until further notice, extend this ruling to the wearing of turbans/patkas/keski." Notice of this decision was sent out to the CSA's provincial and territorial members across Canada late last week, said he. 

with thanks : Times of India : LINK : for detailed news.

Flying Sikh Milkha given lifetime achievement award

Flying Sikh Milkha Singh was given the life time achievement award during a function organised by the Punjabi Cultural Board in Mumbai earlier this week. Singh received the award from actor Farhan Akhtar and was given the award along with Dharmendra, Raj Babbar and singer Rommy Gill.

"It's a great honour for me that the Punjabi Cultural Board gave the award. It was a great feeling meeting the likes of Dharmendra, Raj Babbar and Farhan Akhtar and I am happy that the Punjabi Cultural Board gave me the award. A lot of Punjabis live in Mumbai and across all over India and I am sure this award will also inspire them," shared Singh.

with thanks : Indian Express : LINK

Monday, April 15, 2013

Baisakhi: Sikhs dedicate festival to save girl child

KANPUR: The festival of Baisakhi was dedicated to save girl child this year. It was celebrated with enthusiasm and fervour in the city on Saturday. Wearing traditional costumes and drenched in devotion, people thronged gurudwaras. A cultural mela was organized atMootijheel in which people took 'BetiBachao' oath. Ragi of Amritsar Sahib Jagjeet SinghKomal administered the oath.
Members of the Sikh community started visiting gurdwaras since morning to attend special prayers. At noon, after the Baisakhi ardas, prasad was distributed. Special prayers were held at Gurudwara Bhai Banno Sahib on GT Road.

Hundreds of people visited Moothijheel ground to witness Baisakhi Mela.
In the evening, men were seen dancing on the deafening dhol beats in the artificially made green fields. India Got Talent participant Veer Khalsa Team from Punjab took part in the event.The Veer Khalsa team members and Ragi of Amritsar Sahib also announced that Beti Bachao campaign would continue in gurudwaras in the city. Nukkad nataks and skits were also organized to create awareness against heinous practice of female feoticide.Neetu Singh, chairperson, Sikh Welfare Society, said Ragi of Amritsar Sahib Jagjeet Singh Komal had announced to distribute symbolic saplings to the devotees to be planted at homes. These saplings would be named after the daughter of the family."This is a unique way to make people realize that daughters are like trees who always bear fruits and give shade. We must take care of trees and daughters alike," Neetu Singh added.
Baisakhi has its origin to the celebrations in 1699 organized by the tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh to form the Khalsa. Baisakhi is also known as the festival of harvest.

with thanks : Times of India : LINK

LONDON Southall Vaisakhi Mela 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

SGPC cancels Sikh jatha's Pak visit

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has cancelled the visit of a 1,400-strong Sikh jatha to Pakistan due to the denial of visas to a majority of the applicants. 

The Pakistan High Commission has denied visas to more than 1,350 pilgrims, apparently due to political uncertainty and law and order problem in the neighbouring country. The jatha was scheduled to leave for Lahore on Wednesday on a 10-day visit to Pakistan to pay obeisance at historic gurdwaras to mark Baisakhi.
Stating this here, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar expressed resentment over the visa denial, saying that it was a matter of grave concern for the Sikh community.
Makkar, who presided over the SGPC executive meeting here, said the committee had sent a list of 1,400 applicants to the union government sometime ago, but it was forwarded to the Pakistan embassy only on April 4.
He pointed out that the SGPC had 60% quota for Pakistan visas during Baisakhi and other Sikh religious occasions when the community from across the world paid obeisance at Sikh shrines in Pakistan.
In 1999, the SGPC had cancelled the jatha's visit in protest against the formation of a separate Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee under the aegis of the Waqf Board there. Bibi Jagir Kaur was then the SGPC president.

DSGMC follows suit
The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), also governed by the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), has decided to cancel its jatha's visit, even though the Pakistan authorities granted visas to 157 of the 171 applicants.

DSGMC president Manjit Singh GK told HT on the phone from Delhi that the committee had decided to cancel its tour in protest against the overall large-scale denial of visas. He said the few people who had got visas could visit Pakistan at their own risk.

with thanks : Hindustan Times : LINK

Monday, April 8, 2013

64 pvt schools should refund excess fees to parents: panel to HC

The judicial panel, set up by the Delhi High Court, has recommended that more than 60 schools have to refund the excess fees charged by them in 2009 without paying salaries to their teaching and non-teaching staff as per the Sixth Pay Commission.

A three-member committee headed by former Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice Anil Dev Singh, set up last year, has examined the financial records of 200 schools on a random basis out of total 1172 schools and submitted its first interim report before the bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Siddharth Mridul yesterday.

The committee said in its report that 64 schools "unjustly" increased fees and recommended that all of them refund the same with 9 percent interest to the parents.

As per the panel report, the group of Guru Harkrishan Public Schools, including the one on Purana Qila Road, Hargovind Enclave and Vasant Vihar branches, Guru Nanak Public School in Pushpanjali Enclave, Guru Teg Bahadur Public School in Model Town and others have to refund the extra fees with interest to the parents.

"The committee, therefore, recommends that the schools be directed to refund the increased monthly fee with effect from September 2008 till the date of actual refund along with the interest at the rate of 9 percent per annum. The school should also refund the arrear of fees recovered from the students along with the interest of 9 percent," the panel said.

"Since the annual fee of the school is increased by about 10 percent every year, there would be a ripple effect in the fee for the years subsequent to 2009-2010....," the report also said.

with thanks : Indian Express : LINK

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Judgment reserved in anti-Sikh riots case

The judgment in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case in which Congress leader Sajjan Kumar is accused of instigating violence against Sikhs was reserved by a Sessions court here on Wednesday after the prosecution and defence completed their final arguments. District Judge J. R. Aryan said he will take up the matter on April 16 for seeking further clarifications, from both parties, if needed.
Appearing for Mr. Kumar, defence counsel I. U. Khan argued that the key witness, Jagdish Kaur, had not named him in her affidavit before the Ranganath Mishra Commission in 1985 and also did not point out the absence of his name in that affidavit to the Nanavati Commission appointed by the NDA Government.
Regarding her claim that she had seen Mr. Kumar addressing a crowd from atop a police jeep in the Delhi Cantonment area, Mr. Khan argued that considering the distance from where she said she saw him, it would not have been possible for her to see him.
The defence counsel also claimed that though an FIR relating to 30 murders in Raj Nagar was filed and 23 complaints were made by relatives, gurdwara committees and other associations, not one of them had named Mr. Kumar.
However, CBI counsel D. P. Singh rebutted this contention saying that it was the CBI case that the Delhi Police had eliminated all traces of any complaints mentioning Mr. Kumar’s name.
Mr. Khan also alleged that Ms. Kaur had not named Jagsher Singh, her relative, as an eyewitness before either the Mishra or Nanavati Commissions, and took his name for the first time before the CBI only in 2006. Jagsher Singh had allegedly seen and heard Mr. Kumar scolding his supporters for not inflicting adequate damage on Sikh properties and urging them to not spare Hindus who sheltered Sikhs. “Whatever Jagsher Singh saw, he would have told Jagdish Kaur. How come, all these years, she never mentioned his name?” Mr. Khan asked.
Defence counsel Anil Sharma, appearing for five other accused, argued that out of 17 prosecution witnesses, only three had named his clients in the case. “Out of 35 prosecution witnesses, CBI had examined 17 and only three of them had named Balwan Khokkar, Kishan Khokkar, Mahender Yadav, Girdhari Lal and Captain Bhagmal. Why should we believe those three witnesses and not the 14 witnesses who had not named them,” he said.
Concluding his arguments, Mr. Singh said that the Bureau had conducted an honest investigation and that the prosecution has limited itself to what each of the witnesses had seen at the time of the incident. He emphasised that the CBI witnesses had made an honest recollection of the facts of the case before the court.
Before Mr. Aryan reserved orders, senior advocate H. S. Phoolka, counsel for the riot victims, stood up and said: “After conducting the inquiry, running into over four years, the Nanavati Commission had primarily recommended registration of the cases against two political leaders, Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar. Against Jagdish Tytler, the CBI has already filed the closure report, and against Sajjan Kumar the present trial is going on. Not just the entire country, the whole world was waiting for justice in the case because 5,000 people were killed and the culprits were yet to be brought to book.”
The defence counsel vociferously objected to Mr. Phoolka’s intervention.

with thanks : The Hindu : LINK

Man charged with hate crime in brutal assault on Sikh cab driver

SEATTLE—A man accused of brutally attacking a Sikh cab driver, stomping on him as he lay on the ground and ripping out part of his beard, has been indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with a hate crime.
The indictment of Jamie Larson, 49, of Federal Way, Wash., replaces earlier state charges. Conviction under the federal hate crimes statute carries a potential penalty of 10 years in prison.
King County authorities who initially investigated the case said the taxi driver, a native of India, was wearing a traditional Sikh turban when he responded to a request from Auburn police on Oct. 17 to take Larson home from a Fred Meyer store, where he was drunk, falling in the bushes and refusing to leave. 
Along the way, the driver later told police, Larson commented on his turban and told him he shouldn’t have come to the U.S., saying his father was a soldier who had fought for America.
Once they arrived at Larson’s home, the defendant began savagely beating the 50-year-old driver, shouting racial epithets, punching him in the face and jumping on him, according to county charging documents.
Horrified neighbors called police, who handcuffed Larson and interviewed the driver, who was walking around in a daze before beginning to vomit repeatedly.
Larson told officers the driver was a “towel head” and an “Iranian, Iraqi rag head,” the indictment alleges.
“We have Americans fighting overseas, and why doesn’t he go back there,” one officer quoted the defendant as saying.
Larson was initially charged in King County Superior Court with malicious harassment based on the victim's race, religion or ethnicity, a state hate crime charge. King County prosecutors dismissed those charges this week in hopes Larson would get a longer prison term under federal law. He appeared in federal court Tuesday under the new indictment. 
Federal prosecutors said they would seek to have him detained before trial. According to King County prosecutors, Larson has been booked 19 times since 1986 with 34 warrants, on charges including disorderly conduct, assault, possession of marijuana and various cases of malicious mischief.
“Attacks such as this one, based on prejudice and racial hate, are contrary to who we are and violate the law,” U.S. Atty. Jenny Durkan said in a statement.

with thanks : latimes : LINK